- Some interesting Japanese history revealed by Elda throughout series
- Partly slice of life story that is relaxing in its lack of serious drama
- Sense of community is refreshing
- No clear plot or direction for series
- Slow pacing
Edomae Elf (Otaku Elf) Review
Edomae Elf, or Otaku Elf, is a relaxing anime about the shrine maiden Koito and her charge, the seemingly immortal Elda who was summoned to Japan during the Edo period or during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
On the surface, the series is about how Koito, Takamimi’s new shrine maiden, manages her new responsibilities as a shrine maiden to Elda, a summoned elf who becomes a goddess, while dealing with her own personal responsibilities as a high school student.
To that end, several episodes in the series emphasize the conflict Koito faces in managing her personal life as a student with her professional life as a shrine maiden. This balancing act is complicated by Elda’s decision to be an otaku.
Instead of being independent, Elda relies on Koito, Koito’s family, and the community to sustain her otaku lifestyle and desires—the desire for new, limited release action figures, energy drinks, and video games.
There’s no real goal to the series—perhaps Koito’s search for the woman in white is one, but once that mystery is solved, the series becomes a bit aimless in terms of where it’s going.
But where there’s an absence of plot, there’s a lot of character development going on with Koito. In fact, she learns patience, meets the woman in white from her memories, and learns a little bit along the way.
That’s what sets Edomae Elf apart from other anime. The series drops little gems of historical information about the Edo period. For instance, one rainy scene has Elda reminiscing about how people from the Edo period used umbrellas as fashion statements and marketing.
This focus on the past makes sense considering Elda was summoned to Earth to become a goddess during the Edo period. But she doesn’t really discuss any history after like the tumultuous changes of the Meiji Restoration or war.
But the focus on the Edo period and the references to the more mundane aspects of life—fashion, shopping, food—gives this anime a kind of calming, relaxing charm.
Another endearing aspect of the show is the sense of community and its acceptance of Elda as an otaku. The people in the community go out of their way to accommodate Elda’s shyness and social awkwardness. One particularly cute episode involves Elda’s attempt to win a limited-time action figure from the shopping plaza and how the community pitches in to support their awkward goddess.
Edomae Elf is a relaxing, slow-paced anime series that doesn’t take itself too seriously and shares, from Elda’s perspective, a relatively short, easy period of her long life. Elda’s long life and her seemingly random reminiscences remind viewers that perhaps the daily struggles and dramas they endure are relatively unimportant in the larger picture of life. It’s this reminder that adds to the charm of the series and the sense of calm from watching the series.
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